Being a good driver means that your driving skills are not only tactical but safe too.
It’s easy to get into bad habits: texting and driving, not checking blind spots or forgetting to buckle up. But if you want to avoid any damage to your car or yourself there are certain things you should be making a good habit of.
10 good driving habits:
Keep the phone away
Texting or talking on your phone while driving is a common habit and unfortunately leads to countless road accidents. According to the AA researchers studying brain imaging documented that listening alone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. Keep your phone away and set an example to other distracted drivers who could be responsible for road fatalities because of this bad habit.
Stick to the speed limit
Creeping over the speed limit is not only dangerous but costly too. Road accidents and fatalities, particularly over the holiday periods in SA, are often caused by motorists who fail to stick to speed limits and therefore become unable to avoid a dangerous situation. You can be heavily fined for going over speed limits.
Safe following distance
When we’re in a rush we often forget to maintain a 2-3 second gap between ourselves and the car in front of us. But sticking to a safe following distance can safeguard you against a number of things. Keeping your distance can save you from knocking the car in front of you in case of an unexpected halt in traffic. With a high risk of high-jackings in South Africa it can also help you to move your way out of an otherwise tight spot to escape a situation.
Turn headlights on when necessary
Safe drivers keep their headlights on whenever visibility is poor: when it rains, between sunset and sunrise or whenever visibility is not clear 150 meters ahead of you.
Check tyres, oil and water
Get into the habit of checking your tyre pressure, oil and water levels every time you fill up at the petrol station. Oil reduces the risk of friction to your engine while making sure that your water level is topped up is a large part of car maintenance. Always check your tyre pressure before embarking on long journeys.
Don’t drink and drive
The dangers of drinking and driving are extensive and most people would agree that getting behind the wheel after one too many drinks is a pretty dumb idea. Not only do you risk getting caught at a road block and spending the weekend in jail, if you drink and drive you put the lives of others (in the car or on the road) in danger. Safe drivers opt for a cab or Uber home instead.
Be alert and aware
Several things stop us from being alert and aware when driving: being tired and/or distracted stop us from being able to react to unexpected situations that could easily be avoided.
Turn down the music
Blasting your car’s sound system can be fun but it can be a major distraction as well as hazardous. Loud music can decrease a driver’s ability to react to any sudden or unexpected movements or happenings on the road.
The law makes it clear that it is up to the adult driving to ensure that all passengers have buckled up when in the car. Wearing a seatbelt is the simplest way to save your life and a good driver will insist that everyone else does the same when travelling with you.
Indicating and blind spots
There’s nothing more frustrating about a driver who doesn’t follow routine checks before turning or changing lanes. Indicating before turning informs other drivers of what you’re doing so that they can follow safely. Checking blindspots might be a pain, but your blindspot is an area that can’t be seen from your car’s review and side mirrors.